“TUMO” center for creative technologies officially opened to the public on August 14th at Yerevan’s Ajapnyak district. Present at the opening ceremony were Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh Serzh Sargsyan and Bako Sahakian, Mayor of Yerevan Karen Karapetian, other ministers and officials. Founded by AGBU Central Board Member Sam Simonian and his wife, Sylva, TUMO is designed to introduce students, ages 12 to 18, to a professional level of instruction in animation, web development, video game design, and digital video/audio through extensive after-school programs. Sam Simonian is also the founder of “Simonian Educational Foundation” and US-based “Epygi Labs AM” company, the branch of which has been operating in Armenia since 1997.

(see page 2) Realizing the importance and potential of the development of innovative technologies in Armenia, Sam Simonian decided to found a new center in Yerevan, which would, with the help of information technologies, organize educational programs, hold seminars and workshops to introduce Armenian youth to the achievements and innovations of the field.

President Sargsyan toured the new center and was introduced to the four directions offered by the educational program of the center. In his opening speech, President Sargsyan noted that the establishment of such a center in Armenia is of a strategic significance for our country and that the exploration of mental abilities of our youth and the increase in their competitiveness are among the most important challenges facing our country.

“Unfortunately, Armenia does not have plentiful natural resources. This fact drives us to at least two conclusions: a) we must not waste our resources and b) we must be able to provide intellectual services to our public, the region and the world, which, certainly, would be impossible without centers like this”, said President Serzh Sargsyan and added that he was truly very excited with the opening of “TUMO” and hopes to have definite results for the future of Armenia.

In his message of gratitude addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Sam and Sylva Yacoubian, President Sargsyan said, “This is not only worthy of gratitude, this is worthy of encouragement, because apart from its practical significance, this is also a very good example for all those, who have achieved success in their own fields and can share a small part of it with their homeland”.

After the official opening ceremony, at the initiative of the Simonian family, the open-air concert given by Serj Tankian, the lead singer of world famous “System of a Down”, accompanied by the Armenian National Opera Symphonic Orchestra and guest conductor Hamish McKeich from New Zealand, took place on “TUMO” grounds. Prior to Tankian’s performance, the audience enjoyed music by the famous Armenian rock band “Dorians” and an impressive 3D mapping projection on the “TUMO” building. The opening events of “TUMO” had started two days before the official grand opening of the center.

“Hopefully, here at Tumanian park, one skillful drop of honey, can arm today’s youth with the technical and creative skills to build the Armenia of tomorrow. One drop of “Tumo” will become one link in the full chain of positive changes”, said Sam Simonian

Initiator and founder of “TUMO”, Sam Simonian, was born and raised in Beirut. A graduate of the Armenian General Benevolent Union's (AGBU) Hovaguimian-Manoogian secondary school in Beirut, Simonian had just started his freshman year in 1975 at the American University of Beirut (AUB) when the Lebanese civil war began. Arriving at the age of 19 in the Dallas area, Simonian studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington on an AGBU scholarship loan, and after graduation, went to work for Electrospace Systems Inc. together with his two friends. The computer and telecommunications industries were expanding and there was room for growth. In January 1989, the three engineers resigned from Electrospace Systems Inc., and founded their own company - INET - and went to work building a dream based on a business plan which was drafted on the back of a paper napkin at a fast food restaurant. INET became a multimillion-dollar international company. Today, Sam Simonian is a member of the AGBU Central Board of Directors.

What is “TUMO”? A computer haven, which has opened its doors to all those who see their future in a higher technological education. “TUMO” offers four perspective directions of education thus becoming a unique place for 12-18-year-old youth to develop their skills, creating and realizing their own programs and initiatives. The goal of the center is to contribute to the creative progress of Armenia’s new generation and the process of preparing professionals in the field of higher technologies. Welcome to TUMO!



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